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Gunshot victim details home invasion at hearing

Thursday, April 17, 2003

A night of heavy drinking and meeting strangers on the street ended with a bullet piercing a Cape Girardeau man's body four times -- entering his upper left arm, puncturing his lung and stopping in his right wrist.

John Murphy, 41, testified Wednesday at a preliminary hearing in Jackson, saying he'd had a lot to drink the night of Aug. 5, when he was shot fleeing from two men invading his home on South Spanish Street.

Ivory Alexander, 19, and Cornelius Johnson, 20, both of Cape Girardeau, are charged with breaking into Murphy's home and shooting him before fleeing. Murphy testified Johnson fired the gun at him as he was attempting to flee.

The two men face charges of assault, burglary and armed criminal action and remain in Cape Girardeau County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail each. The hearing held Wednesday was for Johnson. Alexander waived his right to a preliminary hearing on this case and another case with charges of robbery and armed criminal action.

After hearing testimony, Associate Circuit Judge Gary Kamp found probable cause for the charges and bound Johnson's case over to the circuit court for an April 28 arraignment, along with Alexander's cases.

Murphy had been driving with an acquaintance when he met two young women near the corner of William and Pacific around 1 a.m. He drove them to a convenience store and later to a house on Hanover.

Unexpected visitors

After he returned home alone, he drank another beer. The women showed up at his door about 45 minutes later and asked to use a phone. Murphy did not testify as to how the women knew where he lived. They made their call out of his earshot and then the three chatted on his couch, he said.

"They asked me if I could play the music louder, they asked me if I lived alone and how big the house was," he said.

When he heard a noise outside, the women let the gunmen enter through the kitchen door, he said. The intruders wore masks but took them off after entering. One carried a handgun and the other had a sawed-off shotgun.

Murphy said the guns were put to his head and one man pulled a trigger, laughed after it clicked empty and then put the barrel into Murphy's mouth before pointing it at his chest and demanding to know, "Where is it?"

He thought they meant his wallet, which he told the men was in his car and offered to give them his ATM card and pin number.

Murphy said when Alexander went upstairs with one woman, he and Johnson started to wrestle over the 9 mm handgun, Murphy said. He pushed Johnson onto a couch and ran for the front door but noticed his right hand wouldn't work.

"I didn't hear the shot," Murphy said. "The shot came straight through my body."

He ran to a neighbor's house and they called the police.

mwells@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 160


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